TPM News

A far-right Republican candidate for governor of Georgia has issued what must be one of the most counter-productive -- and flat-out hilarious -- denials in the history of modern political campaigning.

On Saturday, Ray McBerry sent out a lengthy statement denying that he "attempted to have an affair" with his former campaign manager; had sexual relations with under-aged girls; stole custody of his son from the son's mother (who, he noted, had tested positive for meth anyway); is no longer allowed to teach in the state; and is unpatriotic, just because he refuses to salute "the current federal flag which represents the present unconstitutional leviathan in Washington," and instead salutes the flag of Georgia and the "original Betsy Ross American flag."

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Rielle Hunter, the woman who had a child with former presidential candidate John Edwards, spoke to the media for the first time in an interview with GQ.

Hunter described how they met -- on a street corner in New York after making eye contact across a restaurant -- and said she fell in love just a few days later.

"I fell in love with him. Head over heels in love. I was a goner," she said.

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Former Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ), who is challenging Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in the Republican primary, has declared that he supports a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage -- because to do otherwise could lead to a man marrying a horse.

"You see, the Massachusetts Supreme Court, when it started this move toward same-sex marriage, actually defined marriage -- now get this -- it defined marriage as simply, 'the establishment of intimacy,'" said Hayworth, during an appearance on a Florida radio show on Sunday. "Now how dangerous is that? I mean, I don't mean to be absurd about it, but I guess I can make the point of absurdity with an absurd point -- I guess that would mean if you really had affection for your horse, I guess you could marry your horse. It's just the wrong way to go, and the only way to protect the institution of marriage is with that federal marriage amendment that I support."

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House Democrats are making a push to pass the Senate health care bill this week. But according to the House's No. 3 Democrat, they still don't have the votes.

On Meet The Press yesterday, Tom Brokaw asked Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), "As of this morning, do you have the votes that you need?"

"No, we don't have them as of this morning," Clyburn said. "But we've been working this thing all weekend. We'll be working it going into the week."

I'm also very confident that we'll get this done.

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It sounds like John Ensign's sex and lobbying scandal is taking a toll on the Nevada Republican's effectiveness in the Senate.

One GOP aide told Politico: "Like Vitter, Ensign doesn't get invited to a lot of press conferences because no one wants their boss in a photo op with them." Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) was identified in 2007 as a client of the DC Madam.

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is going a step beyond simply pledging to fight efforts to pass the health care bill -- she's openly pronouncing that people should personally declare it unconstitutional and defy it, depending on how it ends up getting passed.

At a rally at the Minnesota State Capitol on Saturday, Bachmann declared illegitimate the potential route that House Democrats could take to pass the health care bill. She was specifically railing against a parliamentary tactic by which the House could skip voting on the Senate bill by declaring it passed as part of the reconciliation bill. Bachmann pronounced this to be taxation without representation. "They have just started a revolution -- and they did it," said Bachmann.

"But mark my words, the American people aren't gonna take this lying down," Bachmann later said. "We aren't gonna play their game, we're not gonna pay their taxes. They want us to pay for this? Because we don't have to. We don't have to. We don't have to follow a bill that isn't law. That's not the American way, and that's not what we're going to do."

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On Saturday Night Live, Weekend Update host Seth Meyers and special guest Jerry Seinfeld had one question for former Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY): "Really?"

Seinfeld joked: "You even had a reputation for giving out special massages that you called 'Massa Massages.' Really, Eric? If you're going to sexually harass people who work under you, dude, don't trademark it."

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House Minority Whip Eric Cantor was scheduled to be a special guest at a Manhattan fundraiser last night which was also attended by potential Senate candidate Dan Senor.

Senor, who was an advocate of the U.S. occupation of Iraq and is said to be considering a challenge to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), was on the host committee of a fundraiser for Randy Altschuler. (That means he contributed or raised $5,000 to the campaign.) Altschuler is one of several Republicans running for the House seat held by Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY).

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The nine lives of the public option seem to have run out. Last week, Democratic leaders in Congress twisted themselves into pretzels to explain to angry progressives why the popular measure will not make the cut when they fix the Senate health care bill in the reconciliation process. And the leadership vacuum, combined with insufficient enthusiasm for the plan among rank and file Democrats seem to have sealed the deal this time.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the White House place the demise of the public option at the feet of the Senate: There aren't the votes in the Senate, they say. But that's anything but obvious. In the past year, the number of Senators who've gone on the record in support of the public option well exceeds 50. In recent weeks, over 40 have restated their support for it and 24 have signed a letter expressly stating they would vote for it if it was included in the reconciliation package. And last week Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin said he'd run a strong whip in favor of the public option if the House sends over a reconciliation bill with a public option in it.

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